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Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Posthumous Still Have It

A couple months ago, I noticed the Rolling Stone lunchtime poll for Best Posthumous Album. What was interesting is that the two albums that seemed to dominate, among those who actually knew what "posthumous" meant, or weren't into fossilizing the Rolling Stones, picked Johnny Cash’s American V: A Hundred Highways (a Rolling Stone pick) and Brainwashed by George Harrison, both artists were born around this time of the month.
***
There seems to be three major topics among American Beatles fans these days:
1)Whether that Cirque du Soleil songtrack, LOVE, is any good
2)Whether Heather Mills McCartney is Satan or merely the spawn of Satan
3)What's going to be in the next box set of American LPs. The Capitol Albums, Vol. 1, included Meet the Beatles, The Beatles Second Album, Something New, and Beatles '65. Vol. 2 contained The Early Beatles, Beatles VI, the Help! soundtrack, and the U.S. version of Rubber Soul, all of which were released in 1965. There won't be boxes of albums where the US and the UK versions are exactly the same (Sgt. Pepper, the White Album, Yellow Submarine, Abbey Road, Let It Be). Magical Mystery Tour is off the table, because it was an American album that the Brits adopted. So what does that leave?
A Hard Day's Night soundtrack- Originally on United Artists Records. It does have three Beatles songs, including the title cut, plus four soundtrack tunes not on Something New. But there are the five that overlap.
Revolver-the 11-song version instead of the 14. Do they really want to draw attention to this treachery?
Beatles Again/Hey Jude-The late Capitol/early Apple singles. But two of the HDN soundtrack songs are here as well.
The only album everyone agrees on is Yesterday...and Today. Why did I buy this at the Rexall store for $2.99, rather than waiting to get it from the Capitol Record Club? Maybe I was impatient. Why do I remember it cost $2.99?
Anyway, this is an odd album, oftentimes documented:
Side A
1. Drive My Car-Lennon/McCartney (Rubber Soul UK)
2. I'm Only Sleeping-Lennon/McCartney (Revolver UK)
3. Nowhere Man-Lennon/McCartney (Rubber Soul UK)
4. Doctor Robert-Lennon/McCartney (Revolver UK)
5. Yesterday-Lennon/McCartney (Help UK)
6. Act Naturally-Morrison/Russell (Help UK)
Side B
1. And Your Bird Can Sing-Lennon/McCartney (Revolver UK)
2. If I Needed Someone-Harrison (Rubber Soul UK)
3. We Can Work It Out-Lennon/McCartney (single)
4. What Goes On-Lennon/McCartney/Starkey (Rubber Soul UK)
5. Day Tripper-Lennon/McCartney (single)
My thoughts then: I love(d) Drive My Car. The album was good, but TWO Ringo songs? Also, What Goes On is in the same key as Day Tripper; I wouldn't have put them next to each other.
My thoughts now: If you're gonna butcher the UK albums, the pulling of four tracks from Rubber Soul, essentially one by each Beatle, was pretty deft. I know a number of folks who still think I've Just Seen a Face (from the UK Help album) is the better starting song for the Americanized Rubber Soul. Conversely, the three Lennon songs pulled from Revolver made the US version of THAT album lopsided, with 1 Ringo, 3 George, 5 Paul but only 2 John songs.
Oh, yeah, my copy of Yesterday...and Today got stolen in the Great LP Theft of 1972, so I'll never know if I owned the butcher cover or not. It's just as well.
Consider this my Underplayed Vinyl for the month.

2 comments:

Johnny B said...

I'll always have a soft spot for Yesterday...and Today, too- it got a lot of turntable time at young Dave's house, for sure. I got my copy a couple of years later than it came out, though, so mine isn't a butcher cover. C'est la vie.

One of my all-time favorite albums, though, is The Beatles Again aka Hey Jude, partly because I have always loved those photos used on the front and back cover, with the Fabs in their extra hirsute phase, but also because it had a wide spectrum of their music, from 1964 up to more "recent" non-LP tracks like "Old Brown Shoe", "Ballad of John & Yoko", and best of all "Don't Let Me Down".

That said, I haven't been buying these American-version boxes, and probably won't this one either...if you have the previous releases, why bother? Just burn your own, says I!

Lefty said...

I thought they'd be talking about when iTunes is going to Have Beatles music on their site.


As for early Beatles albums...I'm patiently waiting for "the package" that will give me everything I want or could ever need...remastered and with exellent liners. Until then I'll keep my Red and Blue collections, and my later Beatles CDs (which for the moment I'm more of a fan of them post-Rubber Soul).